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Father had basketball dreams for Jones

by Adam Kimelman

TORONTO -- Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones might make things look easy on the ice, but NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American prospect for the 2013 NHL Draft said he didn't have the easiest time getting started in the sport.

The son of former NBA player Ronald "Popeye" Jones, Seth's father obviously hoped his three sons would follow in his path. Instead, Justin, Seth and Caleb opted for hockey.

Convincing dad they wanted to be hockey players wasn't easy.

"I have two brothers and we all started playing about the same time," Seth said. "He wasn't very happy at the time, but he's fine with it now.

"He was probably expecting all of us [to be basketball players]. A lot of kids want to follow their father's footsteps and do the same things he did. It was a little different in our house."

Popeye, an assistant coach with the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA, now embraces his sons' hockey lifestyle -- Justin played in college while Caleb will play at the United States National Team Development Program next season -- but don't expect to see dad follow in their skates.

"I did, once," Seth said. "He did not let go of the boards -- grabbing the boards, pulling himself around the rink. He had some custom [size] 15 CCMs, which are huge, and an extra-long stick with a 6-inch knob."

Usually, beginner skaters are given a chair to push around the ice to work on their balance, but Seth said that wasn't an option for 6-foot-8 Popeye.

"He can't reach that far," Seth said. "It would be below his knees."


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